As you probably know, I write a regular monthly article for Australia and New Zealand magazine. Recently they asked me if I could write a roundup of top places to live down under for a supplement they were including with their October edition.
“Oh, and try to make it humorous will you?” they said. So I did. Try that is.
Here’s the article…
Australian cities roundup
I have been to (almost) every capital in Australia since moving here from England about eight years ago. Who better than me to offer a roundup of all these places? So let’s jump in, feet first.
Busy, busy, busy. Yes, Australia’s busiest city by far. I ran the pedestrian crossing test when I was there, went to the centre of the city, found a crossing and pressed the button. Waited for the beep, beep, beep sound and counted the people crossing the road. There were loads of them! World-class harbour though, which is nice.
Sometimes really hot and sometimes really cold, often during the same day. I’ve seen people wearing overcoats in the middle of summer. Has some great beaches, it’s just that by the time you get there all flip-flopped and togged up, the weather has changed again. It is the multicultural cuisine capital of Australia though, boasting top international restaurants, and they have trams. Who doesn’t like trams? The coffee is very good too.
Sometimes really hot and sometimes just hot. If we had Melbourne’s beaches it would be the perfect city. But we don’t, we have to go to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast for a proper seaside fix. Of course, we do have winters, this year it started on a Wednesday and it was all over by the following Monday.
All the pubs sell pints which is great news for us Brits. No need to learn the word ‘schooner’. And great pubs they are as well, with the trendy Fremantle about 30 minutes south of the city home to the best of them. Even further south is the incredibly beautiful Margaret River region with more fine breweries and wineries. It’s not just about alcohol though, in the city they have shops that sell other things. Perth also has a stunning coastline, the bluest ocean and great sunsets.
Quiet, very quiet, not much to do. Those are not my words, when I was last there I met an English woman in the street who had recently moved there. We struck up a little conversation. When I asked her what she thought of the place she said “quiet, very quiet, not much to do.” Somebody else said “you could fire a cannon in my street and not hurt anybody”. But with beaches on one side, the Adelaide Hills on the other and hardly any traffic, this could well be paradise for those who don’t want to do much.
Hip and trendy, quaint historic buildings, traditional looking pubs, proper cold winters, it’s just like England. Not all of England though, more specifically it’s like the Lake District. Unlike the Lake District though, it’s an island, so it is surrounded by water as well. Water is everywhere; lakes, rivers, waterfalls, oceans, and the place has the cleanest air on the planet. Perfect if you like England, so not the number-one destination for English expats.
Hot and humid, except in winter when it’s just hot. Australia has two major upmarket department stores, Myer and David Jones, they can be found in every major city. Not in Darwin though. Shopping is not Darwin’s thing. On the other hand, it is the only capital city with crocs. For some Darwin is a living hell, for others it’s paradise. I did the same pedestrian crossing test in the town, no cars to stop let alone people crossing.
Of course, my roundup is very much tongue in cheek. It sounds like I don’t have much good to say about anything, but here is the truth. I would live in any one of these capitals rather than move back to the UK anywhere, that’s for sure. My wife would be the same, except for Darwin. That’s a love it or hate it kind of place; my wife didn’t hate it, it’s just that she wouldn’t be able to use her Myer card anymore.